Nicholas Oulton's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Credentials: 
Senior Visiting Research Fellow

Voting history

A “new” UK industrial strategy ?

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Question 2: Do you agree that the UK needs a new regional policy?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Regional disparities in GDP per head seem to be widening. So something needs to be done to reverse this trend. Congestion and planning regulations mean that simply encouraging people to move South to take advantage of better wages and jobs is not going to work. But I doubt whether Enterprise Zones are going to be a big part of the solution. In principle the Northern Powerhouse is the right sort of approach. This is what the French have done in developing "poles de croissance" such as the Toulouse region. In practice, the Northern Powerhouse is proceeding at a glacial pace.

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Question 1: Do you agree that the UK needs a new industrial policy?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely confident
Comment:
I strongly agree and am extremely confident in doing so because the term “industrial policy” is very broad but must cover some things which could help to solve our productivity problem. I am strongly in favour of additional spending by the state on infrastructure, R&D, training, and education since it is well known that we have clear deficiencies in these areas. Extra spending in at least some of these areas will have a regional bias. Beyond this there is a case to be made for trying to foster development in sectors where the UK is thought to have a comparative advantage. But it is not clear why the sectors detailed in the Green Paper were selected. I can think of others, e.g. software, for which a case could be made.

German current account surpluses

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Question 2: Do you agree that the German government should increase public spending given its persistently large current account surplus and given that it is part of the Eurozone?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The same effect could of course be achieved by cutting taxes.

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Question 1: Do you agree that German current account surpluses are a threat to the Eurozone economy?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very confident

Are academic economists ‘in touch’ with voters and politicians?

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Question 2: What do you think is the most likely reason that a majority of UK voters went against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
A. Non-economic reasons more important
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
I have argued in my response to Question 1 that the main issue in the referendum campaign was immigration. So economists' answers may have been alpha plus but they were not answering the question on the exam paper. Interestingly none of the alternatives offered here quite fits my view, though A might come close. It was a vote against immigration but the reasons may have been economic as well as non-economic.

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